Classic TV & Movie Hits
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The series was adapted from a play written by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building in Chicago. The setting of the series was changed to Washington, D.C. to allow the producers to feasibly show a completely black neighborhood (Washington, D.C. is 60% black, while Chicago's black population only comprises about a third, comparable to many other cities in the United States).
The show was started as a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs, who had first shot to fame as the sassy maid Florence Johnston on The Jeffersons, and had starred in Houston's theater adaptation in Los Angeles. This role was similar in nature to that of tart-tongued Florence; Gibbs' character, housewife Mary Jenkins, loved a good gossip and often spoke what she thought, with sometimes not-so-favorable results.
Harry as Sandra Clark and Gibbs as Mary Jenkins.Mary's best friend was Rose Lee Holloway (Alaina Reed), who inherited the building early in the show's run when the previous landlord died; Rose had cooked him food on many occasions and he gave her the building because she made the best apple pie he'd ever tasted. Mary took a no-nonsense, old-fashioned approach to life, and Mary and Rose's views sometimes clashed (one time, Rose and Mary got into a fight after Mary chastised Rose for giving her daughter ice cream money before she did homework, and Rose accused her of trying to make everyone "perfect"). Mary especially disliked one of the tenants, self-described "man-wise" Sandra Clark (Jackée Harry), and criticized her either behind her back or to her face many times. Over time, Mary and Sandra's relationship cooled to an on-off acquaintance/adversary relationship, and many of Mary's schemes involved Sandra working with her in some way, and vice versa.
Also seen was Mary's husband Lester (Hal Williams) and her teenaged daughter Brenda (Regina King in her first nationwide acting role). Another character seen was Pearl Shay (Helen Martin), who lived next door to Mary and often popped her head outside her window to comment on the various goings-on as related by Mary and Rose. Pearl lived with her grandson Calvin Dobbs (Curtis Baldwin), who was Brenda's first love. Brenda's best friend was Rose's daughter Tiffany (Kia Goodwin).
Show Description Credit: Wikipedia
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Jul 28, 1990|
|Premiere||September 14, 1985|
|Format/Time||Color / 30 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Alexandria DeWitt (1988-1989)
Regina King.... Brenda Jenkins
Curtis Baldwin.... Calvin Dobbs
Barry Sobel.... Dylan McMillan (1989-1990)
Toukie Smith.... Eva Rawley (1989-1990)
Paul Winfield.... Julian C. Barlow (1989-1990)
Hal Williams.... Lester Jenkins
Marla Gibbs.... Mary Jenkins
Helen Martin.... Pearl Shay
Alaina Reed-Hall.... Rose Lee Holloway
Jackee Harry.... Sandra Clark
Kia Goodwin.... Tiffany Holloway (1985-1986)
Stoney Jackson.... Travis Filmore (1989-1990)
Kevin Hall.... Warren Merriwether (1989-1990)
[More Cast & Guest Stars]
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|> Show Media|
|> DVD Releases & Reviews|
(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
(September 28, 2004) Buy It (USA) (Canada)